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A middle-aged colored woman in a Georgia village, hearing a commotion in
a neighbor's cabin, looked in at the door. On the floor lay a small boy
writhing in great distress while his mother bent solicitously over him.

"What-all's de matter wif de chile?" asked the visitor sympathetically.

"I spec's hit's too much watermillion," responded the mother.

"Ho! go 'long wif you," protested the visitor scornfully. "Dey cyan't
never be too much watermillion. Hit mus' be dat dere ain't enough boy."


A love-smitten youth who was studying the approved method of proposal
asked one of his bachelor friends if he thought that a young man should
propose to a girl on his knees.

"If he doesn't," replied his friend, "the girl should get off."

A gentleman who had been in Chicago only three days, but who had been
paying attention to a prominent Chicago belle, wanted to propose, but
was afraid he would be thought too hasty. He delicately broached the
subject as follows: "If I were to speak to you of marriage, after having
only made your acquaintance three days ago, what would you say of it?"

"Well, I should say, never put off till tomorrow that which should have
been done the day before yesterday."

There was a young man from the West,
Who proposed to the girl he loved best,
But so closely he pressed her
To make her say, yes, sir,
That he broke two cigars in his vest.

- _The Tobacconist_.

They were dining on fowl in a restaurant. "You see," he explained, as he
showed her the wishbone, "you take hold here. Then we must both make a
wish and pull, and when it breaks the one who has the bigger part of it
will have his or her wish granted." "But I don't know what to wish for,"
she protested. "Oh! you can think of something," he said. "No, I can't,"
she replied; "I can't think of anything I want very much." "Well, I'll
wish for you," he explained. "Will you, really?" she asked. "Yes."
"Well, then there's no use fooling with the old wishbone," she
interrupted with a glad smile, "you can have me."

"Dear May," wrote the young man, "pardon me, but I'm getting so
forgetful. I proposed to you last night, but really forget whether you
said yes or no."

"Dear Will," she replied by note, "so glad to hear from you. I know I
said 'no' to some one last night, but I had forgotten just who it was."

The four Gerton girls were all good-looking; indeed, the three younger
ones were beautiful; while Annie, the oldest, easily made up in
capability and horse sense what she lacked in looks.

A young chap, very eligible, called on the girls frequently, but seemed
unable to decide which to marry. So Annie put on her thinking cap, and,
one evening when the young chap called, she appeared with her pretty
arms bare to the elbow and her hands white with flour.

"Oh, you must excuse my appearance," she said. "I have been working in
the kitchen all day. I baked bread and pies and cake this morning, and
afterward, as the cook was ill, I prepared dinner."

"Miss Annie, is that so?" said the young man. He looked at her, deeply
impressed. Then, after a moment's thought, he said:

"Miss Annie, there is a question I wish to ask you, and on your answer
will depend much of my life's happiness."

"Yes?" she said, with a blush, and she drew a little nearer. "Yes? What
is it?"

"Miss Annie," said the young man, in deep earnest tones, "I am thinking
of proposing to your sister Kate - will you make your home with us?"

It was at Christmas, and he had been calling on her twice a week for six
months, but had not proposed.

"Ethel," he said, "I - er - am going to ask you an important question."

"Oh, George," she exclaimed, "this is so sudden! Why, I - "

"No, excuse me," he interrupted; "what I want to ask is this: What date
have you and your mother decided upon for our wedding?"

A Scotch beadle led the maiden of his choice to a churchyard and,
pointing to the various headstones, said:

"My folks are all buried there, Jennie. Wad ye like to be buried there

IMPECUNIOUS LOVER - "Be mine, Amanda, and you will be treated like an

WEALTHY MAIDEN - "Yes, I suppose so. Nothing to eat, and less to wear.
No, thank you."

The surest way to hit a woman's heart is to take aim kneeling. - _Douglas


There was a young lady of Wilts,
Who walked up to Scotland on stilts;
When they said it was shocking
To show so much stocking,
She answered: "Then what about kilts?"

- _Gilbert K. Chesterton_.


May bad fortune follow you all your days
And never catch up with you.


One of our popular New England lecturers tells this amusing

A street boy of diminutive stature was trying to sell some
very young kittens to passers-by. One day he accosted the
late Reverend Phillips Brooks, asking him to purchase, and
recommending them as good Episcopal kittens. Dr. Brooks
laughingly refused, thinking them too small to be taken from
their mother. A few days later a Presbyterian minister who
had witnessed this episode was asked by the same boy to buy the
same kittens. This time the lad announced that they were faithful

"Didn't you tell Dr. Brooks last week that they were Episcopal
kittens?" the minister asked sternly.

"Yes sir," replied the boy quickly, "but they's had their eyes
opened since then, sir."

An Episcopal clergyman who was passing his vacation in
a remote country district met an old farmer who declared that
he was a "'Piscopal."

"To what parish do you belong?" asked the clergyman.

"Don't know nawthin' 'bout enny parish," was the answer.

"Who confirmed you, then?" was the next question.

"Nobody," answered the farmer.

"Then how are you an Episcopalian?" asked the clergyman.

"Well," was the reply, "you see it's this way: Last winter
I went to church, an' it was called 'Piscopal, an' I heerd them
say that they left undone the things what they'd oughter done
and they'd done some things what they oughtenter done, and I
says to myself says I: 'That's my fix exac'ly,' and ever sence
then I've been a 'Piscopalian."


A Protestant mission meeting had been held in an Irish town and this
was the gardener's contribution to the controversy that ensued:
"Pratestants!" he said with lofty scorn, "'Twas mighty little St. Paul
thought of the Pratestants. You've all heard tell of the 'pistle he
wrote to the Romans, but I'd ax ye this, did any of yez iver hear of
his writing a 'pistle to the Pratestants?"


"Why did papa have appendicitis and have to pay the doctor a thousand
dollars, Mama?"

"It was God's will, dear."

"And was it because God was mad at papa or pleased with the
doctor?" - _Life_.

There's a certain minister whose duties sometimes call him out of the
city. He has always arranged for some one of his parishioners to keep
company with his wife and little daughter during these absences.
Recently, however, he was called away so suddenly that he had no
opportunity of providing a guardian.

The wife was very brave during the early evening, but after dark had
fallen her courage began to fail. She stayed up with her little girl
till there was no excuse for staying any longer and then took her
upstairs to bed.

"Now go to sleep, Dearie," she said. "Don't be afraid. God will
protect you."

"Yes, Mother," answered the little girl, "that'll be all right
tonight, but next time let's make better arrangements."


Some time ago an English friend of Colonel W.J. Lampton's living in
New York and having never visited the South, went to Virginia to spend
a month with friends. After a fortnight of it, he wrote back:

"Oh, I say, old top, you never told me that the South was anything
like I have found it, and so different to the North. Why, man, it's
God's country."

The Colonel, who gets his title from Kentucky, answered promptly by

"Of course it is," he wrote. "You didn't suppose God was a Yankee, did

A southerner, with the intense love for his own district, attended a
banquet. The next day a friend asked him who was present. With a
reminiscent smile he replied: "An elegant gentleman from Virginia, a
gentleman from Kentucky, a man from Ohio, a bounder from Chicago, a
fellow from New York, and a galoot from Maine."

They had driven fourteen miles to the lake, and then rowed six miles
across the lake to get to the railroad station, when the Chicago man

"How in the world do you get your mail and newspapers here in the
winter when the storms are on?"

"Wa-al, we don't sometimes. I've seen this lake thick up so that it
was three weeks before we got a Chicago paper," answered the man from

"Well, you were cut off," said the Chicago man.

"Ya-as, we were so," was the reply. "Still, the Chicago folks were
just as badly off."

"How so?"

"Wa-al," drawled the man, "we didn't know what was going on in
Chicago, of course. But then, neither did Chicago folks know what was
going on down here."


The attorney demanded to know how many secret societies the witness
belonged to, whereupon the witness objected and appealed to the court.

"The court sees no harm in the question," answered the judge. "You may

"Well, I belong to three."

"What are they?"

"The Knights of Pythias, the Odd Fellows, and the gas company."

"Yes, he had some rare trouble with his eyes," said the celebrated
oculist. "Every time he went to read he would read double."

"Poor fellow," remarked the sympathetic person. "I suppose that
interfered with his holding a good position?"

"Not at all. The gas company gobbled him up and gave him a lucrative
job reading gas-meters."


ORATOR - "I thought your paper was friendly to me?"

EDITOR - "So it is. What's the matter?"

ORATOR - "I made a speech at the dinner last night, and you didn't
print a line of it."

EDITOR - "Well, what further proof do you want?"

TRAVELING LECTURER FOR SOCIETY (to the remaining listener) - "I should
like to thank you, sir, for so attentively hearing me to the end of a
rather too long speech."

LOCAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY - "Not at all, sir. I'm the second speaker."

Ex-senator Spooner of Wisconsin says the best speech of introduction
he ever heard was delivered by the German mayor of a small town in
Wisconsin, where Spooner had been engaged to speak.

The mayor said:

"Ladies und shentlemens, I haf been asked to indrotoose you to the
Honorable Senator Spooner, who vill make to you a speech, yes. I haf
now done so; he vill now do so."

"When I arose to speak," related a martyred statesman, "some one
hurled a base, cowardly egg at me and it struck me in the chest."

"And what kind of an egg might that be?" asked a fresh young man.

"A base, cowardly egg," explained the statesman, "is one that hits you
and then runs."

"Uncle Joe" Cannon has a way of speaking his mind that is sometimes
embarrassing to others. On one occasion an inexperienced young fellow
was called upon to make a speech at a banquet at which ex-speaker
Cannon was also present.

"Gentlemen," began the young fellow, "my opinion is that the
generality of mankind in general is disposed to take advantage of the
generality of - "

"Sit down, son," interrupted "Uncle Joe." "You are coming out of the
same hole you went in at."

A South African tribe has an effective method of dealing with bores,
which might be adopted by Western peoples. This simple tribe considers
long speeches injurious to the orator and his hearers; so to protect
both there is an unwritten law that every public orator must stand on
only one leg when he is addressing an audience. As soon as he has to
place the other leg on the ground his oration is brought to a close,
by main force, if necessary.

A rather turgid orator, noted for his verbosity and heaviness, was
once assigned to do some campaigning in a mining camp in the
mountains. There were about fifty miners present when he began; but
when, at the end of a couple of hours, he gave no sign of finishing,
his listeners dropped away.

Some went back to work, but the majority sought places to quench their
thirst, which had been aggravated by the dryness of the discourse.

Finally there was only one auditor left, a dilapidated, weary-looking
old fellow. Fixing his gaze on him, the orator pulled out a large
six-shooter and laid it on the table. The old fellow rose slowly and
drawled out:

"Be you going to shoot if I go?"

"You bet I am," replied the speaker. "I'm bound to finish my speech,
even if I have to shoot to keep an audience."

The old fellow sighed in a tired manner, and edged slowly away, saying
as he did so:

"Well, shoot if you want to. I may jest as well be shot as talked to

The self-made millionaire who had endowed the school had been invited
to make the opening speech at the commencement exercises. He had not
often had a chance of speaking before the public and he was resolved
to make the most of it. He dragged his address out most tiresomely,
repeating the same thought over and over. Unable to stand it any
longer a couple of boys in the rear of the room slipped out. A
coachman who was waiting outside asked them if the millionaire had
finished his speech.

"Gee, yes!" replied the boys, "but he won't stop."

Mark Twain once told this story:

"Some years ago in Hartford, we all went to church one hot, sweltering
night to hear the annual report of Mr. Hawley, a city missionary who
went around finding people who needed help and didn't want to ask for
it. He told of the life in cellars, where poverty resided; he gave
instances of the heroism and devotion of the poor. When a man with
millions gives, he said, we make a great deal of noise. It's a noise
in the wrong place, for it's the widow's mite that counts. Well,
Hawley worked me up to a great pitch. I could hardly wait for him to
get through. I had $400 in my pocket. I wanted to give that and borrow
more to give. You could see greenbacks in every eye. But instead of
passing the plate then, he kept on talking and talking and talking,
and as he talked it grew hotter and hotter and hotter, and we grew
sleepier and sleepier and sleepier. My enthusiasm went down, down,
down, down - $100 at a clip - until finally, when the plate did come
around, I stole ten cents out of it. It all goes to show how a little
thing like this can lead to crime."

_See also_ After dinner speeches; Candidates; Politicians.


A parent who evidently disapproved of corporal punishment wrote the

"Dear Miss: Don't hit our Johnnie. We never do it at home
except in self-defense."

"No, sirree!" ejaculated Bunkerton. "There wasn't any of that nonsense
in my family. My father never thrashed me in all his life."

"Too bad, too bad," sighed Hickenlooper. "Another wreck due to a
misplaced switch."

James the Second, when Duke of York, made a visit to Milton, the poet,
and asked him among other things, if he did not think the loss of his
sight a judgment upon him for what he had writen against his father,
Charles the First. Milton answered: "If your Highness think my loss of
sight a _judgment_ upon me, what do you think of your father's losing
his head." - _Life_.

A white man during reconstruction times was arraigned before a colored
justice of the peace for killing a man and stealing his mule. It was
in Arkansas, near the Texas border, and there was some rivalry between
the states, but the colored justice tried to preserve an impartial
frame of mind.

"We's got two kinds ob law in dis yer co't," he said: "Texas law an'
Arkansas law. Which will you hab?"

The prisoner thought a minute and then guessed that he would take the
Arkansas law.

"Den I discharge you fo' stealin' de mule, an' hang you fo' killin' de

"Hold on a minute, Judge," said the prisoner. "Better make that Texas

"All right. Den I fin' you fo' killin' de man, an' hang you fo'
stealin' de mule."

A lawyer was defending a man accused of housebreaking, and said to the

"Your Honor, I submit that my client did not break into the house at
all. He found the parlor window open and merely inserted his right arm
and removed a few trifling articles. Now, my client's arm is not
himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for
an offense committed by only one of his limbs."

"That argument," said the judge, "is very well put. Following it
logically, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year's imprisonment.
He can accompany it or not, as he chooses."

The defendant smiled, and with his lawyer's assistance unscrewed his
cork arm, and, leaving it in the dock, walked out.

Muriel, a five-year-old subject of King George, has been thought by
her parents too young to feel the weight of the rod, and has been
ruled by moral suasion alone. But when, the other day, she achieved
disobedience three times in five minutes, more vigorous measures were
called for, and her mother took an ivory paper-knife from the table
and struck her smartly across her little bare legs. Muriel looked
astounded. Her mother explained the reason for the blow. Muriel
thought deeply for a moment. Then, turning toward the door with a
grave and disapproving countenance, she announced in her clear little
English voice:

"I'm going up-stairs to tell God about that paper-knife. And then I
shall tell Jesus. And if _that_ doesn't do, I shall put flannel on my

During the reconstruction days of Virginia, a negro was convicted of
murdering his wife and sentenced to be hanged. On the morning of the
execution he mounted the scaffold with reasonable calmness. Just
before the noose was to be placed around his neck the sheriff asked
him if he had anything to say. He studied a moment and said:

"No, suh, boss, thankee, suh, 'ceptin' dis is sho gwine to be a lesson
to me."

"What punishment did that defaulting banker get?" "I understand his
lawyer charged him $40,000."

An Indian in Washington County once sized up Maine's game laws thus:
"Kill cow moose, pay $100; kill man, too bad!"

TEACHER - "Willie, did your father cane you for what you did in school

PUPIL - "No, ma'am; he said the licking would hurt him more than it
would me."

TEACHER - "What rot! Your father is too sympathetic."

PUPIL - "No, ma'am; but he's got the rheumatism in both arms."

"Boohoo! Boohoo!" wailed little Johnny.

"Why, what's the matter, dear?" his mother asked comfortingly.

"Boohoo - er - p-picture fell on papa's toes."

"Well, dear, that's too bad, but you mustn't cry about it, you know."

"I d-d-didn't. I laughed. Boohoo! Boohoo!"

The fact that corporal punishment is discouraged in the public schools
of Chicago is what led Bobby's teacher to address this note to the
boy's mother:

DEAR MADAM: - I regret very much to have to tell you that your
son, Robert, idles away his time, is disobedient, quarrelsome,
and disturbs the pupils who are trying to study their lessons.
He needs a good whipping and I strongly recommend that you
give him one.

Yours truly,

Miss Blank.

To this Bobby's mother responded as follows:

Dear Miss Blanks - Lick him yourself. I ain't mad at him.

Yours truly,

Mrs. Dash.

A little fellow who was being subjected to a whipping pinched his
father under the knee. "Willie, you bad boy! How dare you do that?"
asked the parent wrathfully.

A pause. Then Willie answered between sobs: "Well, Father, who started
this war, anyway?"

A little girl about three years old was sent upstairs and told to sit
on a certain chair that was in the corner of her room, as a punishment
for something she had done but a few minutes before.

Soon the silence was broken by the little one's question: "Mother, may
I come down now?"

"No, you sit right where you are."

"All right, 'cause I'm sittin' on your best hat."

It is less to suffer punishment than to deserve it. - _Ovid_.

If Jupiter hurled his thunderbolt as often as men sinned, he would
soon be out of thunderbolts. - _Ovid_.

_See also_ Church discipline; Future life; Marriage.


A father once said to his son,
"The next time you make up a pun,
Go out in the yard
And kick yourself hard,
And I will begin when you've done."


Into a general store of a town in Arkansas there recently came a darky
complaining that a ham which he had purchased there was not good.

"The ham is all right, Zeph," insisted the storekeeper.

"No, it ain't, boss," insisted the negro. "Dat ham's shore bad."

"How can that be," continued the storekeeper, "when it was cured only a

The darky scratched his head reflectively, and finally suggested: "Den,
mebbe it's had a relapse."

On a recent trip to Germany, Doctor Harvey Wiley, the pure-food expert,
heard an allegory with reference to the subject of food adulteration
which, he contends, should cause Americans to congratulate themselves
that things are so well ordered in this respect in the United States.

The German allegory was substantially as follows:

Four flies, which had made their way into a certain pantry, determined
to have a feast.

One flew to the sugar and ate heartily; but soon died, for the sugar was
full of white lead.

The second chose the flour as his diet, but he fared no better, for the
flour was loaded with plaster of Paris.

The third sampled the syrup, but his six legs were presently raised in
the air, for the syrup was colored with aniline dyes.

The fourth fly, seeing all his friends dead, determined to end his life
also, and drank deeply of the fly-poison which he found in a convenient

He is still alive and in good health. That, too, was adulterated.


"But why did you leave your last place?" the lady asked of the would-be

"To tell the truth, mum, I just couldn't stand the way the master an'
the missus used to quarrel, mum."

"Dear me! Do you mean to say that they actually used to quarrel?"

"Yis, mum, all the time. When it wasn't me an' him, it was me an' her."

"I hear ye had words with Casey."

"We had no words."

"Then nothing passed between ye?"

"Nothing but one brick."

There had been a wordy falling-out between Mrs. Halloran and Mrs.
Donohue; there had been words; nay, more, there had been language. Mrs.
Halloran had gone to church early in the morning, had fulfilled the
duties of her religion, and was returning primly home, when Mrs. Donohue
spied her, and, still smouldering with volcanic fire, sent a broadside
of lava at Mrs. Halloran. The latter heard, flushed, opened her
lips - and then suddenly checked herself. After a moment she spoke: "Mrs.
Donohue, I've just been to church, and I'm in a state of grace. But,
plaze Hivin, the next time I meet yez, I won't be, and thin I'll till
yez what I think of yez!"

A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party: there is no
battle unless there be two. - _Seneca_.

_See also_ Marriage; Servants


The more questions a woman asks the fewer answers she
remembers. - _Wasp_.

It was a very hot day and the fat drummer who wanted the twelve-twenty
train got through the gate at just twelve-twenty-one. The ensuing
handicap was watched with absorbed interest both from the train and the
station platform. At its conclusion the breathless and perspiring knight
of the road wearily took the back trail, and a vacant-faced "red-cap"
came out to relieve him of his grip.

"Mister," he inquired, "was you tryin' to ketch that Pennsylvania

"No, my son," replied the patient man. "No; I was merely chasing it out
of the yard."

A party of young men were camping, and to avert annoying questions they
made it a rule that the one who asked a question that he could not
answer himself had to do the cooking.

One evening, while sitting around the fire, one of the boys asked: "Why
is it that a ground-squirrel never leaves any dirt at the mouth of its

They all guessed and missed. So he was asked to answer it himself.

"Why," he said, "because it always begins to dig at the other end of the

"But," one asked, "how does it get to the other end of the hole?"

"Well," was the reply, "that's your question."

A browbeating lawyer was demanding that a witness answer a certain
question either in the negative or affirmative.

Online LibraryUnknownToaster's Handbook Jokes, Stories, and Quotations → online text (page 25 of 34)